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  1. #1

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    I am curious if others use an amp when playing jazz on classical guitar and what amp and settings you use. I rarely play classical music on gigs so I don't amp up for that, but when playing jazz on nylon string I obviously amp up if the gig requires, but find myself running the amp for fun even when playing unto myself. I have a Baggs Anthem classical pickup and use an Ultrasound DS4 amp. I generally use the "chorus"setting with the shape filter on, though sometimes I run the clean channel (i.e. "no effect"). BTW I have also been having great fun playing fingerstyle jazz on ukulele and running it through various settings on the amp.

    Jon

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I run my Takemine through a Baggs pre-amp into an AI/RE rig.

    A dash of reverb and I'm happy.

  4. #3

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    I have been having a lot of fun with the Godin Grand Concert Duet Ambiance (mouth full) which has four mic simulations that can be blended with the piezo. Allows me to play very softly and has much lower action than my Yairi classical.

  5. #4

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    schertler dyn-g mike and schertler david amp.

  6. #5

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    I miss not having a pickup on mine, but I don't gig that kind of playing anyway. Maybe someday, if I find the extra funds.

  7. #6

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    My 7-string flamenco has an RMC pickup system (like the Godin), my classical a Kreomona pickup, run them through a Zoom A2 processor into a Bose Compact. Very good results.

  8. #7

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    I have the Fishman Presys Blend system on my Cordoba.
    I use either a Henriksen JazzAmp 110 or a Centaur Acousric with a 15" speaker and tweaters.
    Very natural tone.

  9. #8
    destinytot Guest
    I use a classical to sing and play bossa nova. I had an LR-Baggs Element fitted - great product, but I've found a solution I'm more comfortable with - a condenser mic into a Polytone Mini-Brute, which becomes the sound-source for a larger PA where this is required, as in this video (from around 2002):
    Last edited by destinytot; 07-11-2014 at 08:49 AM.

  10. #9

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    I use one of two amps, both heads through a Raezer's Edge 1 x 12. The first amp is a Clarus 2r with an ART tubeMP mic preamp in the effects loop. This does a nice job of warming up the sterility of clean SS amps. The second is a Mission Amps 5E3 circuit built as a head.

    I have two nylon string guitars, a Takamine EC-something with a laminate top. It's nearly useless for gigging, however, due to the amazing propensity for feedback. Very nice guitar, beautifully made and finished, but I almost never play it any more and should sell it. I find that it's very hard to dial the piezo quack out of this guitar through an amp; it sounds best with the Clarus, however. I tested a lot of classical guitars and every one of them using a piezo had this problem, the Takamine was the best sounding I found. As is the case with archtops IMHO, the laminate top sounds better amplified. But a couple of years later I got my next nylon string guitar...

    My main nylon string these days is a Rick Turner RN-6. I cannot speak highly enough of this guitar. It is a semi-hollow design but through an amp sounds more acoustic than any true acoustic nylon string guitar that I have ever hear amplified. There is no feedback, the tone can be as warm as you want or as crystalline clear as you want. The preamp uses 2 9v batteries for an 18v system with more headroom than a 9v system; by itself this reduces the quack because a fair amount of the quack is actually high frequency distortion (piezo pickups put out a voltage spike on the attack of a note). Turner's pickup system also includes a couple of trim pots; one of them is a high pass (or low cut) filter that you can use to sculpt the bass end of the sound. This is very helpful for tuning the guitar to your particular amplifier and allows finding the sweet spot between a warm, strong bass and a boomy, muddy bass. The other trim pot sets the sensitivity and gain of the pickup and lets you dial up or down the "thump" of the pickup; it is probably also a high cut filter and helps tame the piezo sizzle. The volume pot on mine has detents, which is a little weird. The tone control is very effective and is well centered for the high end.

    If you like a big beefy classical neck, this may not be the guitar for you as the nut is 1 7/8 IIRC and the neck profile is like an electric guitar. Also, it's a thin body instrument and works better standing with a strap than seated, so if you play in the classical position you may struggle with this guitar. It's very light and lively, the body vibrates like an acoustic or even more so. IMHO you'll not find a better sounding amplified nylon string. There are a few videos on YouTube of this, perhaps the best for demonstrating the sound of the guitar is Paul's. Well recorded, he plays with pick and with fingers, and great playing as well of one of my favorite tunes.


  11. #10

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    I have a Cordoba Studio and I find that if I have the internal mike on at all it feeds back like a banshee. In speak with my teacher yesterday, he usually uses an external mike although he has a piezzo, like me.

  12. #11

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    I think the speaker choice is more important than the electronics. A full-range speaker (with a high-freq driver) seems to be very important. As long as you have that, most amps with enough clean headroom will sound good.
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 07-11-2014 at 10:43 PM.

  13. #12

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    Woody, I agree, and utilize the Bose L1 and Compact systems for just that reason; they also really help cut down on feedback. With a Zoom acoustic processor, and a decent pickup system (from the $70 Kremona to the $600 RMC) I can get quite a good representation of a true classical or flamenco guitar tone. My 7-string nylon with RMC pickups through the Bose is really impressive, especially in bossas and sambas.

  14. #13

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    Very nice, destinytot, lots of Gilberto's time feel, always a plus. I have been learning many of the Brazilian tunes in Portuguese as well as English, it's quite a difference in accents and messaging.

  15. #14

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    Just spotted this thread, sorry about late addition. I play classical once in a while, and I've pretty much given up trying to pretend that the unamplified nylon-string guitar can hold its own against woodwind or strings; or against a roomful of conversation, for that matter.

    So nowadays I nearly always go amped. My personal preference is for the AER Compact 60, German-built and a bit expensive but amazingly powerful for its size. I can't recommend this amp highly enough: you can check out reviews online which express amazement that such a little box can do so much. I read recently in UK Guitarist mag that jazz guitarist Jim Mullen also uses these for his Aria FA-80, and I can confirm that it'll double perfectly well as a clean amp for electrics (some may prefer a bit of tube dirt, which you won't get). Very portable, at about 30cm cubed, and light with it. Great piece of kit.

  16. #15

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    I use a Schertler UNICO and it's fantastic with my Yamaha NCX900R classical. Use some reverb and often a touch of delay. Wouldn't mind trying an AER at some stage but I have heard them used and I think I would still prefer Schertler because the AER sounded a bit 'boxy' for my taste.

  17. #16
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    Very nice, destinytot, lots of Gilberto's time feel, always a plus. I have been learning many of the Brazilian tunes in Portuguese as well as English, it's quite a difference in accents and messaging.
    Just seen this - thanks very much, ronjazz! I've started taking the João Gilberto approach to songs in other languages. I'm using a clip-on condenser mic, and tuning down makes it more quiet and gentle - I believe that if people want to listen, they will.
    Last edited by destinytot; 08-31-2015 at 08:47 AM.

  18. #17

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    I don't play classical repertoire much these days, and rarely take my classical A/E out for gigs, but every now and then I use it with our jazz combo--really nice for bossa nova or Latin tunes like Desafinado, Besame Mucho, Sway.

    I have an Alvarez AC60 which has a nice preamp. I run it into a Fishman Loudbox Artist. This has become my go-to amp for all occasions due to its versatility, transparency, loudness and small weight. It does a great job with piezo pickups without much piezo quack--easily dialed out. Interestingly, my classical sounds much better than an archtop I was using with a piezo pickup--hard to get rid of unwanted noises on that one.

    Usually I run it clean and cut out some of the treble for a mellow sound--add reverb at about 9 o'clock. Occasionally I will add some chorus just for a change of sound.

  19. #18

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    Just do what the Maestro did:

    Do you amplify your classical guitar?-segovia-jpg

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by drjond56
    I am curious if others use an amp when playing jazz on classical guitar and what amp and settings you use. I rarely play classical music on gigs so I don't amp up for that, but when playing jazz on nylon string I obviously amp up if the gig requires, but find myself running the amp for fun even when playing unto myself. I have a Baggs Anthem classical pickup and use an Ultrasound DS4 amp. I generally use the "chorus"setting with the shape filter on, though sometimes I run the clean channel (i.e. "no effect"). BTW I have also been having great fun playing fingerstyle jazz on ukulele and running it through various settings on the amp.

    Jon
    I have a classical with a Fishman undersaddle passive which I put straight into an AER alpha (sometimes with an LR Baggs Para DI.) I like the way it sounds, but many people tell me this is a terrible set up...

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    just do what the maestro did:

    Do you amplify your classical guitar?-segovia-jpg
    lol!

  22. #21

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    Well, I've got a classical guitar with a piezo pickup and a cut-away, an Aria AK-30CE, so I suppose that makes me persona non grata in certain classical circles ... circles I don't frequent, anyway. I've got an Epiphone Studio Acoustic amp, part of the PR-4E Acoustic/Electric Player Pack I got a while back. I'm nowhere near good enough to be gigging but I figure that two acoustic guitars and one acoustic amp means I'm on to a good deal. I can always mike the amp through the PA when the background gets too loud: I'm pretty certain I can stuff something in the soundhole to cut down on feedback.

  23. #22

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    Yes. I use a 1966 Shure PE54 Series II Unidyne III dynamic microphone with a Fender KXR60 piano amp. I've never been really happy with the amplified sound but it's a necessary evil to play gigs. It's very difficult to get the pure sound of the Classical guitar unless, perhaps, you're an electro-techie . . . which I'm not. Play live . . . Marinero

  24. #23

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    I use nylon strings guitars/Sanchez , Frameworks modren classic/ and
    BODYREZ ACOUSTIC PICKUP ENHANCER to AER Compact XL.

    Best
    Kris

  25. #24

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    The nylon string guitar I use in gigs doesn't even have an acoustic sound. It's a chambered solidbody with a piezo system, a Guild custom shop Paloma.

    Sounds great, and is as easy as an electric guitar to work with. I never play it at home though of course..

  26. #25

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    I don't use an amp, but a friend puts his nylon guitar into a Fishman Mini. Sounds very good.

  27. #26

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    I've never been really happy with the amplified sound but it's a necessary evil to play gigs. It's very difficult to get the pure sound of the Classical guitar unless, perhaps, you're an electro-techie . . . which I'm not. Play live . . . Marinero[/QUOTE]

    agree.
    a 70s matsuoka guitar, 70% shure ksm137 mike, 30% kremona pu, plus aer on mike stand, had (? hopefully not) to do it,
    l have given up playing my good instrument amplified
    what did not do it : oktavia ,rode, dpa clip-on-mike with kind of notch around 1st string b, several obscure acoustic amps,...

    be happy,
    woodpecker

  28. #27

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    mr. mckoy sounds very joao gilberto-like,
    up to that light greenish suit the farmers wore on sundays, after getting rid of their rubber boots, - a trip back in time
    legao.

    woodpecker

  29. #28

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    K&k pickups
    fishman platinum pro eq
    acus 6t

    I also have a pedalboard with looper for practice, composition, ambient improvs

  30. #29

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    The most important aspect of amplifying classical guitar is the preamp, where the astute player with a really good EQ in a preamp can use even a cheap Kremona and get a good sound. Conversely, the hardest classical/flamenco guitars to amplify are the ones that sound the best unamplified. Your best bet is a well-made but inexpensive guitar that is not so resonant as to feed back, like a flamenco, or something with more midrange but not a lot of peaks, like a mid-level Yamaha or Takamine, which only sound "OK" unamplified. Except for custom builds with amplification in mind, the best guitars to amplify in a live setting that may vary from night to night and may have lots of background noise is around $1000-1500. That will get a well-finished and well-constructed guitar, machine made, which will be much easier to tame when the electrons start flowing. I've been at this since the Crimean War, even spent a day with Earl Klugh many years ago experimenting with coal-fired amplification (as opposed to billions of ones and zeroes going by). For non-concert work such as clubs and outdoor festivals, I have used guitars that I bought for as little as $600 and installed an RCM system, took that system through 4 guitars, now using it in a modified flamenco 7-string, $1300, handmade, but not good enough for live stage work unamplified (those are starting at $4000). A spectacular sound with a good system (Bose for me), and still a pleasure to play. Woodpecker knows.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronjazz
    The most important aspect of amplifying classical guitar is the preamp, where the astute player with a really good EQ in a preamp can use even a cheap Kremona and get a good sound. Conversely, the hardest classical/flamenco guitars to amplify are the ones that sound the best unamplified. Your best bet is a well-made but inexpensive guitar that is not so resonant as to feed back, like a flamenco, or something with more midrange but not a lot of peaks, like a mid-level Yamaha or Takamine, which only sound "OK" unamplified. Except for custom builds with amplification in mind, the best guitars to amplify in a live setting that may vary from night to night and may have lots of background noise is around $1000-1500. That will get a well-finished and well-constructed guitar, machine made, which will be much easier to tame when the electrons start flowing. I've been at this since the Crimean War, even spent a day with Earl Klugh many years ago experimenting with coal-fired amplification (as opposed to billions of ones and zeroes going by). For non-concert work such as clubs and outdoor festivals, I have used guitars that I bought for as little as $600 and installed an RCM system, took that system through 4 guitars, now using it in a modified flamenco 7-string, $1300, handmade, but not good enough for live stage work unamplified (those are starting at $4000). A spectacular sound with a good system (Bose for me), and still a pleasure to play. Woodpecker knows.
    THIS

    My handmade classical guitar is tough to manage when amplified because, although beautiful in tone unplugged, it is so sensitive and unforgiving.

    I can’t really play it amplified without my Fishman Platinum preamp because the preamp offers a notch filter, para mid eq, and high pass filter. And even then only at lowish volumes with a sound hole plug.

    The next guitar I build / buy will be designed specifically for the purpose of amplification, especially a thicker / heavier soundboard and bridge, coupled with stiffer bracing.

  32. #31
    For me a Tak 132 mid level guitar with a Fishman loud box with a touch of reverb is decent wo breakin the bank. Not my main area of guitar but good for some gigs.